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19 August 2010 @ 06:36 pm
Also, I got to watch movies as homework, SO THERE.  
Started drafting on our new slimmed-down, one-hour TV pilot for Scriptapalooza.  My writing partner is doing the teaser and acts one and two, and I'm doing acts three and four.  Beginning to draft, for me, is always the hardest part.  Researching, writing the treatment, working out the structure, doing the beat outline, editing, revising, polishing - those are the writing parts I like.  Drafting?  HARD.  (I'm sure this is no different for anyone else.)  Like, what are my ins and outs for each scene?  Do I have the right setting?  Am I finding the most expedient way to move the plot forward, advance character, convey any necessary exposition without making it seem like exposition - all at the same time?  Is my dialogue in character?  How's the pacing?  Are these scenes in the right order?  Ugh.  Sometimes I just feel like I have the movie/episode all up in my head already, and if I could just download it... Now, I know that the actual process of writing means I discover things that I never would have thought of otherwise, and once I get into it it feels great and I like it.  Like, drafting after page ten usually goes well.  But those first few days, those are the ones that are rough, that I tend to put off.  Which is why it's great we have a deadline, because I can't procrastinate at all.

Still, this is one of the reasons why I draft longhand and leave my house to do so.  No frakking around on the computer, no spider solitaire, no organizing my files.  No "I'll just watch this episode of TV...as research."  Just get out of the house and write.

So, last night I'm at the library, and back at the A/V counter they have a trivia question up each day.  If you know the answer, you get, like, a Starburst or something.  It's fun.  I was waiting in line, and while the employee was unlocking the DVD cases, the woman in front of me turned and asked if I knew the answer to the question - "Who founded the Sundance Film Festival in 1978?"  I told her the answer - Robert Redford.  She asked, "Why is Sundance important?"  So I started to answer - "It was one of the first ways for independent filmmakers to have an opportunity to present their work and potentially find a larger audience--"

And then the A/V employee, a young man probably around my age, turned around and talked right over me.  "Sundance was one of the first festivals that exhibited independent films.  Studios could buy them and distribute them, and that wouldn't have been possible before."  And the woman in front of me nodded, smiled at him, took her movies, and left.

I mutely gave the man my DVDs and card, waited for him to unlock them and check them out, and walked away.  I didn't make any small talk like I usually do, and I certainly didn't answer the question.  And as much as I would have liked to say something, I knew there was no point.  Sure, you could probably say he didn't even realize he had done it, and that calling someone on that is the only way they'll learn, but I did not have the patience for it right then.  But if I had decided to say something?  Here's what I would have said:

"Buddy, I studied film at USC.  My professors included Leonard Maltin, Tom Holman, Todd Boyd, and Drew Casper.  I actually worked on a documentary short that played independent festivals.  DO NOT MANSPLAIN SUNDANCE TO ME."

(Now, if you're saying to yourself, "Jeez, Shannon sounds a little full of herself there," don't.  I'm working as a substitute teacher.  I'm $45,000 in debt and had to move back in with my parents.  I drive a 1994 Plymouth Voyager, for Christ's sake.  But goddamnit, I know about movies.)

(I kind of feel like Sigourney Weaver in Galaxy Quest, when Tim Allen yells at her to stop repeating everything the computer says.  "I have one job on this ship, and it's stupid, but I'm gonna do it!")

ghanima sun: feminismghanimasun on August 20th, 2010 01:46 am (UTC)
Wow that dude sounds like he was really being a bit of a jackass. And yeah he probably wouldn't have gotten it if you even pointed out how he just talked right over you. Grrrr.

Also I'm much impressed with all your mad writing skills! I loathe writing so that all just sounds like torture to me. I'm definitely going to check out that documentary short you linked to when I have the time, it looks interesting.
Shannonkungfuwaynewho on August 20th, 2010 01:56 am (UTC)
It's one of those things where he seems really nice, and I know that he didn't mean to do it or he didn't mean anything by it (like, I'm sure he wasn't thinking, "this girl doesn't know what she's talking about!") - but I guess that's not really the point. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt as much as possible, but it really just rubbed the wrong way. I sometimes think it's the unintentional things like mansplaining that is more insidious and difficult to eradicate than the blatant "wimmin should be makin' babys and sanniches!"

Sometimes I wonder if I actually have any writing skills, or if I'm like a donkey or a service dog or something, who has been carefully trained to do this one thing. IDK.

The documentary was really interesting; I've always wanted kids, and I hadn't really thought much about the choice to remain childless and all that goes with it. I learned a lot interviewing the various people - what was especially interesting was when we'd get quick soundbites from regular people on the street, and how many of them were just so disdainful of the very concept of remaining childless, especially after getting married. I continue to be mystified on why other people's personal choices seem to frighten and infuriate complete strangers.
ghanima sun: starbuckghanimasun on August 20th, 2010 03:39 am (UTC)
Yeah there's so many small pervasive bits of sexism that are so easy to overlook because they've become a part of life. The big and the small all screw us over.

I'm liking your writing so far, though I haven't read too much of your fanfic yet, but I definitely plan on it. And the fact that you actually like it and are working at it, I think is important!

The documentary actually looked interesting to me because I do not ever want to have kids, at all. So I guess I am going to be looking at it from a completely different angle than you since I am childless by choice (which is a bit of a privilege, I realize). And I have heard it from various family members that I will change my mind and I'm going to have tons of babies! They aren't really jerks about it, but I know some people definitely can be.
But Yes I agree with you completely - I don't understand why random people get so upset at strangers personal life decisions. I can't comprehend any reasoning to that at all!
Shannon: bsg oath lee karakungfuwaynewho on August 20th, 2010 11:12 am (UTC)
The first couple we interview in the doc, the woman was in her early 30s, and she said there wasn't a single member of her family that supported her decision. She said no one was mean about it, but that it was just this kind of nodding and smiling, "oh, you'll change your mind someday." It was obvious she was really upset by it, and it just made me angry at her family! People I'd never met before, I wanted to call them on the phone and be like, "You leave Bonnie alone! She doesn't want to have any kids and that's just fine!"
nhpw: sdalmostkissnhpw on August 20th, 2010 03:12 am (UTC)
1) Sorry that guy was a douche :(
2) Good luck with the script!
and 3) Can I tell you how much I love the word "mansplain"? I am so borrowing it with intent to use it at the next appropriate opportunity.
Shannon: tng hugskungfuwaynewho on August 20th, 2010 11:13 am (UTC)
1) Eh, you know. I actually get off pretty lucky as far as that whole thing is concerned, so I feel a little like I really shouldn't complain too much. A lot of women deal with a lot worse every day.

2) Thank you!

3) I wish I had come up with "mansplain." It's perfect. It looks exactly like what it is.
(Deleted comment)
Shannonkungfuwaynewho on August 20th, 2010 01:56 pm (UTC)
The guy thing is easy to explain,actually. It's all about the way men are. They seem to come into this world hard-wired for competition; a throwback to the caveman days. The best and strongest get the female thus perpetuating their gene pool.

Hey, someone I can talk evolutionary psychology with! I sadly agree with you, here; I'd also include the fact that we seem to still be socializing our kids to think that boys are better, or masculine is the default (like how unisex clothes are really just boy clothes?).

Oh, I probably should have said at least something, but I'm awful in those kinds of situations. It's like not thinking of the perfect comeback till half an hour later.

Longhand is great for me because it forces me to plan what I'm going to write first; sometimes, if I just type, I tend to get started without the best idea of what I'm doing, and I end up having to spend more time later on redrafting and editing.